Dan Barto, who is a coordinator and basketball coach of the IMG Basketball Academy in Bradenton (Florida), USA, is at the Fr. Agnel School in Vashi (Navi Mumbai) to observe the Junior National Basketball Championship and train basketball coaches from around India on October 27th-29th, 2010. Barto is coaching the eight Indian student-athletes who have been sent to the IMG Academy as part of a scholarship programme by IMG-Reliance.
"Earlier, I only got a chance to work with a small number of sub-junior students,” said Barto, “I’m here now to take a look at hundreds of kids, and put my eye on what types of programmes for what age group IMG can plan for the players. Seeing the 18-year-olds at the Junior Championship, I want to note how the game of Indian youngsters develops at this age, and then see what we have to work on to make sure that the current 13-14 years olds can improve to a much higher level by the time they are 18.”
The secretary-general of the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) Harish Sharma welcomed Barto to the championship, “Barto will be spending the next few days at the National Championship observing the players and helping them out wherever necessary. He will also hold a few more coaching clinics over the next few days.”
At Vashi, Barto was greeted by over 40 basketball coaches from around the country. These coaches are currently attending the 61st IMG-Reliance National Championship for Junior Boys and Girls with their teams. On Wednesday, Barto worked with the coaches and some players to demonstrate the importance of improving a player’s athletic ability through skills training, working on skills such as ball handling, finishing around the basket, ball handling and finishing combos, and corrective shooting drills.
"I am very impressed by the coaches’ strong yearning for knowledge,” Barto said.
Barto also spoke about the development of the eight Indian youngsters at the IMG Academy, noting: “For their age group, the Indian players are at par with any other basketball players we have at the Academy in terms of their coachability, discipline, and skill level. They have to work on their lower body strength now and are improving physically too.”
“At the IMG Academy, we are taking things to a higher level than 99 percent of the schools in the country. The Indian kids will can three years of physical development in six months.”
Barto is the post-graduate coordinator/coach, pro/college training coordinator, and national combine coordinator at the IMG Basketball Academy. He has trained over 100 current or former NBA players, and over 40 Division I players.
IMG-Reliance is currently in partnership with the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) to help develop basketball in India. The IMG scholarships for India programme is a pioneering effort to provide young Indian players the opportunity to reach their potential by being coached at one of the finest basketball academies in the world.
Here is a video prepared by the IMG Basketball Academy of IMG Reliance Scholarship Recipients from India at training.